Word on a Whim

Idea for a children’s video game with minimal graphics. Free to use – you’re welcome!

This idea began in a dream, and then developed during my most alert hours between 2am-4am.

I’m old enough to be one of those who enjoyed colouring books and crayons or felt-tips, and never got into gaming. My favourite toy was a collection of plastic farm animals. I spent hours arranging them into little herds and flocks, then moving them from one place to another (across the carpet) and securing them into little pens. Back then, I thought the countryside was idyllic, and the farm animals were kept as pets. When I realised that was not the case, I refused to eat meat … but that’s a different story.

If computer games had been available when I was little, the game I have created in my mind is the one I would have enjoyed.

Not sure whether it should be targeted at three-to-six-year-olds, or under-fives.

“Rise and Shine Farmyard” is what I called it, but call it what you want.

I think this idea might be useful to a student who is lacking inspiration for a project, or any company wishing to create a low-budget game. No realistic animation required – just a progression of still pictures and with some animal sound effects.

This is how it works:

Farmyard scene/landscape initially (but more scenes could be added, such as garden pets or horse livery stables).

Start with dimly lit farmyard scene. Sepia or greyscale. Faint crescent moon. Sun just peaking over the horizon. A farmyard with outbuildings surrounded by fields.

  • Cows in cowshed
  • Cat asleep on hay in loft above
  • Horse in stable
  • Pigs in piggery
  • Hens in hen house
  • Sheep in sheltered pen
  • Dog in kennel
  • Ducks asleep at side of pond

Click/tap on each sleeping animal and it transitions to its daytime position. Or possibly drag and drop to desired area. Little or no animation. Animal noise on click.

For example:

Click on each cow and it disappears from cowshed with a “moo” and appears in a field eating grass. Click on each duck and it disappears from pond-side and appears in pond with a “quack” etc.

As each animal moves, the sun rises a little, and the scene becomes brighter and more colourful. The moon fades away and by the time the last animal is clicked, the sun is high in the sky.

The game can then be restarted, or done in reverse to put all the animals back to bed.

It’s as simple as that … but a heck of a lot of work for someone! 🙂


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